German Prisoners of War

When Baird & Co built the Inverarish Terraces and Cottages for their workforce in 1912 they could not have envisioned that they would be used to house German Prisoners of War (PoW).

Inverarish Terraces were adapted to be a prison by enclosing them in barbed wire fencing. The army officers, led by Captain K. G. MacLeod and charged with guarding the prisoners, stayed at Inverarish Cottages.

Despite the war, relationships between the PoWs and the islanders were good. Dr Sorley MacLean, renowned Gaelic writer, recalls a PoW inviting him, as a young lad, on a trip on the farm cart.

The PoWs were given small rations, so islanders and workers provided them with a little extra. Alex Fisher would sneak in an extra "piece", (a sandwich), each day to give to a PoW.  Many PoWs made wooden toys for the local children.

The head mining engineer, David Munro, was highly respected by the islanders. He was given a gift of a beautifully made small table, inlaid with hardwood, by the PoWs, suggesting that they had a similar opinion.

Munro's daughter remembers concerts at their house, where a talented PoW would play the violin.

Stories of escapes are few and none were successful.  Sadly just as the war ended several of the PoWs died of illness and are buried on the island.